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Powerful 7.1 earthquake strikes Honduras

world Updated: May 28, 2009 17:03 IST

AFP
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A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck just off the northern coast of Honduras on Thursday, sparking a tsunami alert for three Central American countries, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck 130 kilometers north of the coastal town of La Ceiba at 1354 IST, the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a local tsunami watch for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala following the quake.

"There is a possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than a hundred kilometers from the earthquake epicenter," the center said.

"Regions near the epicenter should be aware of this possibility. Areas further from the epicenter could experience small sea level changes and strong or unusual coastal currents."

However it noted that a "destructive widespread tsunami threat does not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data."

The USGS measured the quake's depth at 10 kilometers, and said it occurred 63 kilometers northeast of Roatan on the Isles de la Bahia in the Caribbean Sea.

The earthquake struck in the early morning hours when it was still dark in Honduras, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

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